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Author Topic: Temperature/Humidity monitoring  (Read 43100 times)

bkenobi

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Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« on: December 13, 2011, 12:42:29 PM »

I know there have been some threads about this in the past, but they seem to be aimed at an X10 device.  I am looking for a way to monitor temperature/humidity in my attic to better control the exhaust fans.  I currently have a thermostat/hygrometer hardwired in the system that is set to turn on if the temp exceeds xxF or xx%RH.  What I'd like to do instead is to have a data logging system so that I can monitor the attic temp/hum as well as the outdoor temp/hum so I can do things a bit smarter.  If the outside humidity is at or above my set point, then running the fan does nothing beneficial.  This would also allow me to keep track of things throughout the day/year to see where things are sitting.

I know there are weather stations made that include USB output and also quite a few that allow for remote wireless stations.  What I haven't been able to discern is which of the lower cost units have these capabilities.  I'm not interested in spending $500 for this, so I may not be able to do what I want.

I know there are 1-wire setups that might work, but I don't think I have the capability to run the wire easily.  I'd really like to go wireless if possible.  If nothing like this is possible for a reasonable price, I'll probably just get one of the cheap Meade systems with a couple remote stations and tweak things that way.  That's not ideal, but at least I'd know if I'm chancing mold growth!

Tuicemen

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 01:01:22 PM »

Temperature/Humidity monitoring is an easy thing to do with a simple wireless weather station like the Oregon RMS300a
The Oregon RMS300 comes with 1 outdoor temperature/humidity sensor has the ability to add 2 additional sensors that run on average of $25.
You may find it cheaper on e-bay.

You can use the free software that comes with to generate a CSV file.
From this you can pull info to do tasks you wish with PC Companion and the plug-in pack.
X10WeatherWatch part of the plug-in pack allows up to 16 conditions to be watched and acted on.
It has a variety of possible triggers using PC Companion or you could just send a X10 signal.
You could also build your own software if your inclined.
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bkenobi

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2011, 03:49:47 PM »

Awesome!  Thanks for the help.  Looks like that one will work.  I was looking for "Temperature USB" and found nothing.  Looks like "Data Logger" is a better term.  But, those Oregon units are pretty affordable and use the same remote stations that I've been seeing I believe.

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2011, 04:25:12 PM »

I use one myself infact it helped encourage me to create the WeatherWatch program.
There is even a water proof sensor for them for monitoring pools and/or spas.
another cool thing is I haven't changed the batteries in over a year so battery life is good. :)%
I've had other stations that required changing batteries every month  B:(
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bkenobi

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2011, 04:33:06 PM »

I have 2 sections of attic with 2 attic fans, so I certainly don't want to deal with monthly battery changes!  Yearly seems reasonable.  Any chance they can be wired in to power?  I have an easy access to power up there, so that would be ideal.

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 06:11:39 PM »

I'm not sure it would be worth it they use 1 AA in the remote sensor.
2 AA in the base unit.
However if you could find a wallwart that supplied what they needed I guess you could mod it.
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luke03

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2011, 11:38:16 PM »

One device I found amazing is called WebControl from Amazon.com. That device allow one hunidity sensor and 8 temoerature sensors. It can also directly control 8 optical isolated relays to turn on/off fans, humidifier. In addition, it can send you email or you can pull the data and log them into your server. The cost is $35 plus $5 shipping.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 11:41:03 PM by luke03 »
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bkenobi

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 01:20:07 AM »

That is a pretty amazing device.  The only down sides I see are that it isn't wireless, can monitor only 1 humidity, and doesn't allow for multiple zones easily (well, without running wires of course).  I really like the price, though.  I have a couple WRT capable routers sitting around, so it would actually be feasible to install one in each attic section and use the WRT routers as wireless bridges to connect the WebControl units.

bkenobi

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 05:51:33 PM »

I'm having a tough time finding an Oregon Scientific RMS300a.  I found one place that sells the RMS600a through Amazon for $42, though.  Do the Meade TS33CM Thermohygrometers work with Oregon units?  Amazon has that unit for $16 which seems to be an excellent price!

bkenobi

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2011, 05:42:10 PM »

In looking a little further, I noticed a setup that looks pretty cool, but I'm not sure how usable it is.  The version I'm looking at is branded La Crosse and is called a Weather Gateway (ERF-100).  It looks like this device plugs into your router and wirelessly connects to any sensors up to 200ft away.  The TX60U is the thermohygrometer that should work with it.  There are a couple issues that I see that may make it not worth the effort though.


Pros
  • Networked, so no worries with bogging down the HA system with local software
  • Can be installed gateway near the structured media box and monitored by a remote unit if desired (improved WAF)
  • Gateway is cheap
  • ebay package with gateway, display, thermometer is cheap (~$25 shipped)
  • Can move gateway anywhere I need to to get better coverage (wifi bridge)

Cons
  • Network unit, so I'd have to scrape the unit's web page (although one page I've seen indicated Excel formatted files)
  • Refresh rate is reportedly slow(5, 10, or 20 minutes), but I don't know if it can be increased or if there is any need to
  • Doesn't look like it's very popular, so I'd probably be on my own for software and other support
  • Sensors are a bit pricey retail

Anybody have any thoughts?

Gateway on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Crosse-Technology-Weather-Gateway-ERF-100-SET/dp/B003E46EUE

Kit on ebay:
http://tinyurl.com/d3bcpe2

bkenobi

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2011, 03:38:26 PM »

Well, I had the La Crosse gateway plugged in for ~1 hour before it broke.  The power cycled and even though the unit was plugged into a surge protector, it just sits there and buzzes at me (you know, that type of buzzing that sometimes happens after you let the magic smoke out of electronics).   If it's that poorly built that it can't last through a power cycle, that's just a bad design (or faulty product I guess).  B:(

When I returned that one, I picked up an Oregon Scientific BAR208HGA, which looks very similar to the RMS units (though the sensor is a model up since it has the local temp/humidity display).  It doesn't look like this one will connect to the PC, though.  If not, I'll have to take it back and try again but at least I'll know if that remote sensor has the range I need.

I found a similar unit on ebay this morning (Oregon I300) for a really good price ($20 shipped including 1 remote sensor).  Funny that the replacement sensor costs more than the package (~$25 shipped).  I may just buy 2 or 3 packages and resell the display and USB unit if I get it.

The main difference between this and the RMS unit appears to be that the RMS line has the display plug into the PC while the I series uses a USB dongle to communicate with the display.  Ideally I think the communication should go from the remote dongle, through the USB hub, out to the display.  That way I wouldn't need to have the hub turned on.  Oh well, I'll just use it for local display anyway until I determine if the old school temp/humidity stuff in the attic are sufficient.

Tuicemen

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2011, 03:50:27 PM »

I've had nothing but good luck with my Oregon and have heard horror stories abut La Crosse before.
I wish mine had the USB dongle!  I guess it may be time for a upgrade!
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bkenobi

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2011, 05:14:31 PM »

Man is finding a weather system complicated.   B:(

I have been looking at the I300 or I600 and I'm having a heck of a time figuring out how many remote sensors these things can handle.  It looks like either one will use the 3- and 10-channel 3rd generation sensors, but I can't see where it says explicitly that it can handle more than one.  I see one place in the I300 documentation where it says "sensors" where it certainly implies multiple can be registered.  I guess I may just have to wait till tomorrow and contact Oregon Scientific support directly.

bkenobi

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2011, 05:09:07 PM »

What software do you use with your RMS300?  I've read that the software doesn't work well, so I assume you've found a 3rd party data dumper.

Tuicemen

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Re: Temperature/Humidity monitoring
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2011, 06:26:46 PM »

I never had issues with the software that came with it.
 However I've use the free Weather Exchange from Ambientweather as well.
Both I used just to get the info into a CSV file.
I then pull up with the PCC Plug-in X10WeatherWatch and set the values to watch for and how to trigger alerts.
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